My onion sets shouldn’t have been much use really – they were both cheap and planted pretty late in the year (for onions). They were stuck in the ground mostly because I had cleared a few areas of the fledgling allotment and was keen to get something planted. It turns out that the sets I picked up are one of the strongest things known to man or beast.
Once we had a free bit of space on the allotment Danielle went ‘round with around 200 onion sets from Poundland and Wilkinsons – both were labelled as ‘Stuttgarter’ – a variety marketed as “sweet and mild, ideal for salads.” No way.
Whilst they really weren’t in the ground long enough to reach a good size (only a dozen or more weren’t what you would call a small onion), they are ridiculously packed with flavour.
Sadly, none of the old wives’ tales to stop your eyes from watering when chopping them seem to have any effect whatsoever, so I work blind when I’m wielding a knife, which is reassuring.
I’m curious, following my experiences with these ‘mild’ onions – would they have ended up as the label described if they had been in the ground longer? I would have expected the flavour to grow stronger over time.
Or, perhaps more likely, cheap onions are not always actually the variety they are labelled and sold as (though they did have Stuttgarter’s characteristic flat tops).